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Central Arizona College


Central Arizona College.

In these ever-changing times, Central Arizona College’s primary goal remains: to provide quality learning opportunities while keeping students, faculty, staff, and community members safe.

CAC has long provided online opportunities for degrees, certificates, and transfer credits. These paths to learning are available at affordable tuition rates and offer students the ability to pursue their goals and maintain schedule flexibility. All courses are currently online as per social distancing guidelines described by both the state and federal government.

These measures and all updates from President Dr. Jackie Elliott can be found here. We thank everyone for their continued support of Central Arizona College as we navigate current events to continue to serve students and the community.

Lucinda Boyd will be added to CAC's Wall of Success during ceremonies Saturday.

Maricopa resident Lucinda Boyd, RN, is scheduled to receive the 2019 Central Arizona College Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award on Saturday and will be added on the Wall of Success at CAC.

The Wall of Success is designed to recognize outstanding alumni for their personal and professional accomplishments. Many factors go into selecting Wall of Success members, including volunteerism in the community; professional, local, regional, national or international recognition; and accomplishment in their field of expertise.

“I am truly blessed to have my nursing career,” Boyd said. “It has enabled me to take care of myself, my family, to help others and to have a better life. It has opened doors and has allowed me to be a blessing to others.”

Lucinda Boyd (center) on the job as a critical care nurse. Submitted photo

Boyd is a wife, mother and grandmother and has volunteered in many capacities over the years.

Boyd grew up in Benson, a small town in southern Arizona. She is the oldest of eight children. She was always active in church, sports and clubs. Her senior year she was the Benson High School newspaper editor and business manager. She graduated BUHS in 1981. After High School she moved to Phoenix and in 1984 moved to Maricopa to raise her family.

Lucinda worked with youth In Maricopa for many years teaching religious education classes and serving as a religious education coordinator from 1986 to 1996 at the St. Francis De Sales Catholic Mission in Maricopa, now our Lady of Grace. She was instrumental in starting the annual festival and carnival to raise money for the new building fund working with Deacon Bill and Helen McGinney.

Lucinda Boyd

It was started as the St. Francis De Sales Feast Day on Jan. 24, although the date and name have since changed several times. She served in the music ministry, and was the rectora (director), co-director and team member of many Women’s Cursillo retreats (a short course in Christianity) and was a member of the Parish Pastoral Council. She retired as the religious education coordinator to continue at CAC to pursue a nursing degree.

Boyd started with the CNA class, graduated and began working while raising her children and going to CAC. She completed two years of prerequisites before starting the nursing program. While in the nursing program she became the vice president of the local Student Nurses Association and was then elected as the secretary of the Arizona Board of Directors for the Student Nurses Association. Lucinda was on the Dean’s list. Upon her graduation in 1998 she received the Outstanding Student Nurse of the Year Award and the Army Nurse Corps Spirit of Nursing Award.

Boyd was invited to work at Casa Grande Regional Medical Center, where she started on the Med/Surg floor, took classes in basic EKG, 12-lead EKG and ACLS and moved within a year to the Telemetry/Cardiac unit, where she became a charge nurse and worked for several years.

She then went to work as a critical-care nurse for Rural Metro/Southwest Ambulance. There, she took further classes in hemodynamics, ventilator and airway management, ACLS, PALS, Prehospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS), Critical Care Emergency Medical Transport Program (CCEMTP), prehospital CCRN course, balloon pump and AIBP management.

After several years Boyd went to RN Case Management in Home Health and Hospice.

Although busy throughout those years she was the mom on the sidelines screaming for her kids and others at all their games. She raised two stepdaughters and four of her own children and took in many other teens from the community for periods of time to help them when needed.

In 2009 Lucinda and her husband Robert started an organization called “The Streets Don’t Love You Back” to educate the youth against gangs, drugs, violence and abuse and to empower them. They both have powerful stories of overcoming some of life’s traumatic circumstances. They want to help the youth and others heal and not go through some of the things they did.

Lucinda‘s journalism skills paid off as she edited two books for her husband. Lucinda then created and authored a Lifeskills Intervention Program, a curriculum to educate on skills and tools needed to overcome and be successful in life. The program is taught locally, in the Maricopa and Pinal County Detention Centers, ADOC and in over 155 prisons throughout the country. Lucinda has edited several books for various people including the mother of rapper Snoop Dogg, Beverly Broadus Green.

Boyd received a Humanitarian Award in 2015, graduated from the City of Maricopa Citizen Leadership Academy in 2016, served as a planning committee member at the Maricopa Teen Court in 2017, is a member of the Arizona Association of Conflict Resolution, a recipient of the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce 2017 Nonprofit of the Year Award, Maricopa Community Advocate Award in 2016 and HOPE Award in 2017.

The Streets Don’t Love You Back received a Certificate of Recognition and was introduced on the Arizona Senate floor by Sen. Catherine Miranda and Sen. Steve Smith two separate times and most recently they were recipients of the PCSO Challenge Coin and Volunteer Award from Pinal County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Mark Lamb for their volunteer service and lifeskills program at the detention center.

Boyd currently serves on the City of Maricopa Parks, Recreation and Libraries Advisory Board, she is a CAC Foundation director, president of the Zonta Club of Maricopa, and a Pinal County Juvenile Restorative Justice Advisory panel member.

“Like traditional nursing and the healing of our bodies, we must also heal our soul and minds and our hearts,” Boyd said. “Healing is our responsibility because we have the power to heal ourselves. We must let go of past pain and hurt, stop blaming others so that we can move forward in a positive manner. When we heal, we become the person we have always wanted to be or even better. We are not only able to metabolize the pain, but we are also able to affect real change in our lives, in our families and in our communities.”

The awards event Saturday celebrates CAC’s 50th anniversary.

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Photos by Kyle Norby

Central Arizona College’s Maricopa campus hosted a harvest festival Saturday that included its haunted house Tracks of Terror, an escape room, costume contest, pumpkin patch, a movie and pumpkin decorating. The event was free to the public.

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Central Arizona College Maricopa campus

By Angela Askey
Executive Director Public Relations and Marketing

Central Arizona College welcomes children’s author Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford as a presenter for the Intercultural Lecture Series hosted by the Center for Cultural and Civic Engagement, Social and Behavioral Sciences Division, and Literary Arts and Languages Division.

An accomplished international dual language award-winning author, Rivera-Ashford has sold more than 75,000 copies of her books that relate to both children and adults in English, as well as Spanish. Among her most popular books is “COCO,” a read-along book and CD based on the popular Disney Pixar movie.

“My books invite discussion of family traditions, remedies, language and culture,” Rivera-Ashford said. “I invite everyone to open the door of opportunity to learn about and embrace their own mixture of ethnicities, cultures and heritage, and walk toward respecting those of others.”

In conjunction with the intercultural lecture, community members as well as CAC staff and students are invited to attend the following children’s literature workshop and movie showings of COCO. All of these events are open to the public. Children are encouraged to attend.

Children’s Literature Workshop
Oct.29, 1:30–2:45 p.m.
The workshop will be presented via ITV at all campuses
Maricopa Campus (17945 N Regent Drive) – B113

Intercultural Lecture Followed by Author Reception and Book Signing
Oct. 29, 4-6 p.m.
Signal Peak Campus, I400
8470 N Overfield Road, Coolidge
The author will have books available for purchase. Rivera-Ashford will be present during the workshop and lecture only.

COCO Movie Showings
Oct. 24, 4:30–7 p.m.
Maricopa Campus, A101
This showing will be followed by a discussion facilitated by Professor Barry Regan

To learn more about Author, Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford, visit her website at www.butterflyheartbooks.com.

A taste of the reality of poverty was on the menu at the inaugural Hunger Banquet at Central Arizona College on Friday.

Those who attended were placed randomly into income levels for the evening – low income, middle income and high income.

The meal they received corresponded with their level of income, Student Services Director Megan Purvis said. Those in low income received rice and water and ate in their chairs rather than at a table. Those in the middle income had rice and beans and ate cafeteria-style at long tables. Those in high income were at fine dining table with centerpieces and table cloths and a full meal of pasta, meatballs, bread and more.

Purvis said it was an opportunity to experience the hunger that is every-day life for a high percentage of Pinal County children. At the end of the evening, everyone received a complete dinner.

The evening was free but benefited F.O.R. Maricopa food bank as guests brought donations of food and money and bought raffle tickets. Donated food also went to the CAC-Maricopa Food Pantry.

Keynote speaker Mayor Christian Price shared the story of a Maricopan and his surprising journey from successful business owner to out-of-work family man benefiting from F.O.R. Maricopa while struggling to pay medical bills.

“’It’s my belief that our family has only stayed together because of the love and support of our community and by the efforts made by F.O.R. Maricopa,’” the mayor quoted from the man’s autobiographical testimony while keeping him anonymous.

Families grappling with economic hardship are seldom obvious in Maricopa like the stereotype of homeless people, he said. There are families living with other families or living in their vehicles. F.O.R. Maricopa, on the other hand, knows them. Not just with meals but with goods and supplies, the food bank serves 300-400 families a year.

“Kindness and generally being kind for the right reasons is critical to the mindful and fulfilling understanding in our role as human beings,” Price said.

Price told the guests that often people are of the mindset that life isn’t fair and people going through a tough time just need to deal with it. But that attitude, he said, often comes from the comfort of a home where basic needs are being met.

“I would submit to you that true understanding, true mindfulness, the proverbial walking a mile in someone else’s shoes all starts with a little perspective and sometimes stepping back so we can grasp the bigger picture.”

The evening’s special guests also included a physician and a dentist to emphasize the impact poverty can have on health and general wellbeing.

The evening was organized by the campus Student Government Association.

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Central Arizona College.

Central Arizona College recognizes the following students who received their certificate and/or degree in August.

Maricopa Campus
Tiffany E. Ahumada, Associate of Business
Gabrielle Cason, Associate of Arts*
Holly Cooper, Arizona General Education Curriculum – Arts
Jacquelyn Ernest, Associate of General Studies
Tanesha Lee Freytes Colón, Arizona General Education Curriculum – Arts
Aubree Gleason, Arizona General Education Curriculum – Arts
Matthew Hernandez, Associate of Arts
Ashley Jackson, Communication Studies Certificate
Tylena Leach, Associate of Arts in Elementary Education*
Auston James Martin, Associate of Arts
Kristin Maxon, Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts
Diyako Moradi, Associate of Arts
Alexis Rosales, Associate of General Studies
Fernando Ruiz, Culinary Arts I Certificate
Jaiden Blythe Sanchez, Associate of Arts*
Joscelyn J. Tallon, Arizona General Education Curriculum – Arts
Madeleine Van Sickle, Arizona General Education Curriculum – Arts
Kennedy Nichol Wiemiller, Associate of Arts*

*Denotes those who graduated with honors.

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By Angela Askey, Executive Director Public Relations and Marketing

Central Arizona College recognizes the reality of food insecurity among its student population and the extent to which hunger affects communities.

In the United States, an estimated 40 million people, including 12 million children struggle with hunger. In Pinal County alone, nearly 60,000 people struggle with food insecurity on a regular basis.

The CAC Food Pantry is part of a larger initiative intended to improve student success and increase upward mobility by combating the negative effects of hunger.

CAC Food Pantry locations are now open at all Central Arizona College library locations. To receive assistance, students may visit any library location and ask an employee for access to the CAC Food Pantry. No identification or personal information will be required to receive goods.

Library locations and hours are:

Aravaipa Campus: Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
80440 E. Aravaipa Road, Winkelman

Maricopa Campus: Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
17945 N. Regent Drive, Maricopa

San Tan Campus: Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
3736 E. Bella Vista Road, San Tan Valley

Signal Peak Campus: Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
8470 N. Overfield Road, Coolidge

Superstition Mountain Campus: Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
805 S. Idaho Road, Apache Junction

*Please note that all libraries are closed Friday through Sunday.

CAC Food Pantry locations are continually being re-stocked. Those in need are invited to visit and take items as needed.

For those interested in helping to support the CAC Food Pantries, canned or non-perishable items can be dropped off to any CAC Library. The most requested items include Peanut Butter & other nut butters, dry pasta, pasta sauce, ramen cups, canned meat/fish, granola bars, cereal, canned fruits and vegetables, and toiletries (soap, deodorant, toothbrushes, and toothpaste).

Monetary donations may be made through the CAC Foundation at https://centralaz.edu/community/foundation/giving/donation/. Select “Other” under “Please direct my donation to:” and note CAC Food Pantry in “Additional Information.”

For additional information, please visit https://centralaz.edu/food-pantry/.

Submitted photo

By Angela Askey
Executive Director Public Relations and Marketing

Earlier this month, the Arid Land and Agriculture Research Center (ALARC) student data team presented highlights of the team’s high-throughput phenotyping (HTP) project at the USDA’s Agriculture Research Center in Maricopa.

The team consisted of five current and former CAC engineering and CIS students (Jared Gale, Jacob Long, Samantha Nicholls, David Koltz and Devin Lindsey), along with two additional team members (Alex Manning and David Moller), and their mentors Mike Roybal, IT specialist and CAC adjunct CIS professor, and Alison Thompson, research scientist.

Roybal and Thompson have been mentoring the ALARC student HTP team since 2016. The students originally came to ALARC as part of the Project Puente Internship program where they worked on field-based, high-throughput phenotyping (FB-HTP) development and/or data analysis.

Each student spoke for five to seven minutes about their involvement with the phenotyping projects including platform development, data processing and handling, and solutions for the “big data” problem presented by high-throughput phenotyping work. Those presenting on hardware, focused on the development of autonomous field robots and optimization of remote-field carts while the presenters discussing software related challenges concentrated on data processing pipelines and database development. IT support discussed developing high-performance computing clusters and server maintenance.

Due to their hard work, dedication, and skills, each of the presenting students have been hired as part-time employees.

“Each of the team members provided valuable resources for ALARC phenotyping efforts,” Roybal said. “The continued dedication and support by the students enable ALARC scientists to assess field-grown plants, and process and share data with collaborators to assist in developing better crop and management strategies.”


By Angela Askey, Executive Director Public Relations and Marketing

The Central Arizona College (CAC) Maricopa Campus (17945 N. Regent Dr., Maricopa, AZ 85138) is a full-service campus featuring a student center, library, state-of-the-art classrooms and labs, and administrative offices.

CAC empowers its students and staff to succeed by providing a TRUE Learning community. The college offers a full array of academic degrees and certificates such as culinary arts, early childhood education, and business among others. Community members are provided multiple learning opportunities through career training, personal enrichment classes, online and university transfer courses, continuing education, and lifelong learning classes.

Lifelong Learning offers a variety of noncredit workshops, seminars and courses in areas such as fine arts, fitness, computers, languages, music, dance, photography, and life enrichment. There are no entrance requirements for community education courses beyond an interest in the subject. Classes begin throughout the semester and vary in length and cost. A schedule of classes offered can be viewed online at www.centralaz.edu/commed.

The Maricopa Campus hosts various community events each year. For a complete listing of all CAC Community Events offered throughout the year at the Maricopa Campus, please visit www.EventsAtCAC.com. At this portal, you may RSVP to free events and purchase tickets for ticketed events. Offerings for the 2019-2020 academic year are being developed and will be available after August 1.

Enrollment is currently taking place for Fall 2019. Classes begin on August 19. Advisors are available to help students develop their educational path. To schedule an appointment with an advisor, please call (520) 494-6400 or explore all of the options that CAC has to offer at www.centralaz.edu.

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By Angela Askey
Executive Director Public Relations and Marketing

 Central Arizona College recognized the accomplishments of its graduates during a district commencement ceremony May 10 at the Signal Peak Campus.

Two student speakers, Ashley Keepers of Tonapah and Kaira Cortez of San Tan Valley, were nominated and selected by the college community to address their peers.

Keepers is the first female student to receive a certificate in the structural welding program. She was president of the American Welding Society student chapter and became a member of Phi Theta Kappa.

Cortez worked in student services at the San Tan Campus. She was involved with National Society of Leadership and Success, Book Connections Club, DREAMers Club, Campus Activities Board and the Honors Program. Additionally, she served as an officer in Phi Theta Kappa, and this year, was district president of the CAC Student Government Association.

Faculty senate president Clark Vangilder presented the candidates to the CAC Governing Board, which conferred the degrees and certificates. President Dr. Jackie Elliott along with governing board members congratulated graduates as they crossed the stage.

An official list of CAC graduates will be released once the degrees and certificates have been confirmed. Preliminary statistics show there are 768 graduates for the 2018-19 academic year with a total of 807 degrees and certificates being awarded.

The oldest person to be awarded a degree or certificate this year is 67 and the youngest is 17. Ten students graduated from CAC before graduating from high school since their ceremonies are not until later in May. The number of male graduates is 276 while the number of female graduates is 492.  The total number of degrees and certificates awarded by Central Arizona College in its 49 years is 26,173 given to 18,768 individuals.

Previously held Student Awards of Excellence at the Maricopa campus recognized students for their outstanding academic and co-curricular achievements. Faculty of the Year were also named at each campus.

Academic Excellence, Elaine Cluff
All-Arizona Academic Team, Kelly L Myszewski
Distinguished Phi Theta Kappa Officer, Dylan Martin
Faculty of the Year, Christine Cook
Most Engaged Student, Rebekka Harris
Outstanding Math Student of the Year, Kenya Payne
Outstanding Part-Time Student, Angela Macias
Outstanding Returning Student, Abel Castañeda
Outstanding Student in Biological Sciences, Amber Dearstyne
Outstanding Student in Physical Sciences, Mitchell Allen
Tutor of the Year, Peggy Rider

The CAC chapter of the National Society of Leadership & Success (NSLS) held its spring induction and awards ceremony April 23, marking the end of the Society’s inaugural year at CAC.

CAC’s Chapter of the NSLS was established in August 2018. In its first year on campus, 302 students joined. Ninety-one students completed the program in the fall and another fifty-nine were added as inducted members this spring. New inductees received a Certificate of Leadership Training honoring their achievement and lifetime membership in the NSLS.

The NSLS is the nation’s largest leadership society with 950,000 members representing 700 universities and colleges nationwide. In addition to honoring excellence, the NSLS provides a systematic program for members to build their leadership skills through participation on their campus.

Newly inducted members receiving their leadership certificate:
Adrianna Chambers, Maricopa
Yasmin Santa Cruz, Maricopa

Members receiving Advanced Leader certification:
Yuliana Toledo Avila, Stanfield
Ashley Dobbs, Maricopa


Sponsored Content

By Angela Askey
Executive Director Public Relations and Marketing

Central Arizona College (CAC) is proud and honored to serve veterans, their spouses and dependents, as well as active military personnel.

CAC accepts all tuition assistance (TA) provided by the Department of Defense for all branches of the US Armed Forces for active duty service members. The College is approved by Arizona’s State Approving Agency (SAA) to administer the VA Education Benefits’ program and the College accepts all VA Education Chapter Benefits for Veterans, their spouse and dependent(s).

The V.A.L.O.R. (Veteran and Loved Ones Relief Scholarship) is available for Central Arizona College veteran students and their spouses and dependents. This scholarship is awarded annually and may be used to cover tuition and/or book expenses. Applicants must be a veteran, or the spouse or child of a veteran, up to the age of 26. Additionally, they must be a resident of Pinal County and pursuing a degree or certificate.

For further general inquires or assistance, please contact CAC’s Veteran Services Specialist and VA School Certifying Official (SCO), Elizabeth Barrett at elizabeth.barrett@centralaz.edu or 520.494.5517. She is located in Room M115A at the Signal Peak Campus in Coolidge.

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This summer, the math department at Central Arizona College will offer Math Boot Camps at each of the college’s five campuses during the month of June.

Each Math Boot Camp is four days long. The camp will meet Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., with a one-hour break for lunch. The Maricopa campus, 17945 N. Regent Drive, hosts its Math Boot Camp June 16-20.

The goals of the boot camps are to enhance student college readiness and to help students improve their math placement scores on the Accuplacer exam. Improved scores on the Accuplacer exam mean students will spend less time in developmental math classes, saving students both time and money.

To obtain further information about the Central Arizona College Math Boot Camps, please contact Erik Peterson at Erik.Peterson1@centralaz.edu or (520) 494-5567, or Eliana Leamons via email at Eliana.Leamons@centralaz.edu or by phone at (520) 494-5057.


Sponsored Content

By Angela Askey, Executive Director Public Relations and Marketing

Central Arizona College recently revised its high school program opportunities to provide the best experience for Pinal County high
school students. In prior years, the college offered a First Step program during the summer and an Early College program during each fall and spring semester. With the newest changes, these two programs have been combined and are now officially named the Early College program.
CAC will continue to provide a quality opportunity to access college-level course work for Pinal County high school students through the Early College program. Students will have access to the five-credit tuition waiver beginning the summer after the completion of their sophomore year through the summer after their senior year. The admissions and enrollment process for this programming will remain the same with an online application

To ensure students are working on early college completion and advancing their college-goal attainment, they will be required to take college-level courses. Additionally, participants must meet CAC’s GPA component for all terms as opposed to just the fall and spring semesters. The migration of the summer First Step program to the Early College program will be phased in as CAC moves into the 2019 summer session.
The Early College programming change was implemented to provide a more optimal experience for students and families of Pinal County. Access to programming for college ready students, the ability to increase accountability amongst participants, and to limit continued confusion that exists among all stakeholders, were all key factors the college considered.


Central Arizona College Maricopa campus

Central Arizona College invites organizations and businesses to participate in the fourth annual Job Expo hosted by the institution’s Maricopa Campus, 17945 N. Regent Drive, on Feb. 12, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

This annual event provides a unique opportunity for employers to have direct access to educated, adult students.

“As an institution of higher education, we understand that employers want to hire employees that possess the skills and knowledge to succeed in the position and will help the company move forward,” said Ann Mitchell, coordinator of Student Employment at CAC. “Our event is different from other ‘job fairs.’ The caliber of candidates that you will meet at the fair is comprised of currently enrolled adult students, CAC alumni and community members.”

A nominal fee of $30 will be assessed to each for-profit exhibitor and the fee for government and non-profit organizations is $20. Each exhibitor will be provided with a table, a chair and a light lunch for one representative. A fee of $10 is required for each additional representative.

The last date to register for the expo is Feb. 4. Space is limited will be assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis.


This item appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

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Central Arizona College invites organizations and businesses to participate in the fourth annual Job Expo hosted at the Maricopa campus, 17945 N. Regent Drive. The expo is Feb. 12 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

This annual event provides a unique opportunity for employers to have direct access to educated adult students.

“As an institution of higher education, we understand that employers want to hire employees that possess the skills and knowledge to succeed in the position and will help the company move forward,” Ann Mitchell, coordinator of Student Employment at CAC said. “Our event is different from other ‘job fairs.’ Employers have direct access with college-educated adults who have a desire to excel in the career of their choice, and who are investing today for a bright career tomorrow. The caliber of candidates that you will meet at the fair is comprised of currently enrolled adult students, CAC alumni and community members.”

A nominal fee of $30 will be assessed to each for-profit exhibitor and the fee for government and non-profit organizations is $20. Each exhibitor will be provided with a table, a chair and a light lunch for one representative. A fee of $10 is required for each additional representative.

Employers are encouraged to register today to take advantage of the opportunity to find employees that possess the skills and latest education required to help their business run smoothly and efficiently.

The last date to register for the expo is Feb. 4. Space is limited for this event and will be assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For more information on how to register for CAC’s Job Expo or to obtain a registration form, please contact Mitchell by phone at 520-494-5428, or by e-mail at ann.mitchell@centralaz.edu.

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Central Arizona College Maricopa campus

By Angela Askey
Executive Director Public Relations and Marketing

The Central Arizona College (CAC) chapter of the National Society of Leadership & Success (NSLS) recently held its inaugural induction and awards ceremony, including 20 members from Maricopa and Stanfield.

CAC’s Chapter of the NSLS was established in August 2018. By the end of the fall semester, 209 new members joined. Ninety-one students completed the program and received a Certificate of Leadership Training honoring their achievement and lifetime membership in the NSLS during the Dec. 6 ceremony.

The NSLS is the nation’s largest leadership society with 950,000 members representing 700 universities and colleges nationwide. In addition to honoring excellence, the NSLS provides a systematic program for members to build their leadership skills through participation on their campus.

Local inducted members receiving their leadership certificate were:

Bailey Abel, Maricopa
Karen Aguero-Mancillas, Maricopa
Michaela Bustos, Maricopa
Mariena Dearstyne, Maricopa
Ashley Dobbs, Maricopa
Tanesha Joan Freytes Colon, Maricopa
Nicholas Gartland, Maricopa
Theresa Harkabus, Maricopa
Alexis Lindsay, Maricopa
Yadhira Osuna, Maricopa
Samantha Ricardo, Maricopa
Peggy Rider, Maricopa
Nery Rojas-Leo, Maricopa
Julianna Sanudo, Stanfield
Laura Sanudo, Stanfield
Timonyeh Shines, Maricopa (exec officer)
Daniel Swann, Stanfield
Emily Taft, Maricopa
Yuliana Toledo Avila, Stanfield
Madeleine Van Sickle, Maricopa

To become an inducted member, students must follow a step-by-step program designed to build leadership skills through participation on campus. The first step is an orientation followed by a leadership training day where the students identify goals and their true passions to create actions steps for achieving their goals. The third and fourth steps include participation in three speaker broadcasts and three success networking team meetings. Following each meeting, they submit a reflective journal entry online. The final step is induction.

Inducted members can move on to obtain an Advanced Leadership Certification and Executive Leadership Certification by continuing their activities with NSLS.

The CAC NSLS members recognized nine CAC employees for their service to the campus and community. Honorary memberships were presented to Dr. Jenni Cardenas, Vice President for Student Services; Michelle Gomez, Academic Division Assistant; and Dr. Sandra Rath, Professor of Speech Communication.

Dr. Liz Baroi (Professor of Psychology), Heather Moulton (Professor of English), and Fotini Sioris (Professor of Biological Sciences) were honored for Excellence in Teaching.

Also honored by the chapter were Celina Salinas (Assistant Director of Recruitment), Mark Ebert (Academic Advisor), and Gail Nettles (Project Director for TRIO Student Support Services).


Mayor Christian Price (center) along with city and college personnel cut a ribbon at the COMET bus shelter at CAC. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

With five bus shelters in place, another being finished and six more planned, the City of Maricopa Express Transit (COMET) system is in a new phase.

Mayor Christian Price cut the ribbon on a bus stop at the Central Arizona College campus Wednesday morning.

“It’s really a great opportunity to find new ways to move people around the city,” Price said, “especially as we move into our retail areas.” He touted the wide array of residents who use the transit system, from students to seniors.

Bus shelters are also at Legacy Traditional School, which is across Regent Drive from the college, Fry’s Marketplace, Pacana Park and Copper Sky. The shelters serve the “route deviation” service of COMET, which is a specific route around the city. COMET also runs a demand response, dial-a-ride service, which picks up riders wherever they are located and takes them to wherever they need to go. There are also shuttles that take riders to Chandler and Casa Grande.

Rebekka Harris, a CAC student living in The Villages at Rancho El Dorado, said she has used COMET at times when her sister needed her car. It was not only convenient, she said, but also a chance to have a captive audience and chat someone’s ear off, “because that’s my brand.”

Though the COMET has served the CAC campus for a while, the bus stop was just a post. Now it is at the main entry with seating and shelter.

“I like the fact that there’s a bus stop here, because before I was like, ‘Where do I stand? Do I stand in the cactus; do I stand up there?'” Harris said. “So I like having this here.”

The City operates COMET under the auspices of TotalRide, so drivers like Helena Dobers are employed by both. She drove a school bus, including the summer Copper Sky route, for three years before coming on board COMET full time this year. “And it’s been beautiful,” she said.

City Transit Planner David Maestas (center) and TotalRide General Manager Chris Hager talk with COMET driver Helena Dobers.

© 2013 Richard Schultz/Courtesy of 50 Eggs, Inc.

By Angela Askey
Executive Director Public Relations and Marketing

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Central Arizona College’s Phi Theta Kappa, Student Government Association, The Center for Cultural & Civic Engagement and The Visual and Performing Arts Division will host a special viewing of the documentary, Underwater Dreams.

Underwater Dreams, narrated by Michael Peña, chronicles the story of how four Phoenix-area high school students, the sons of undocumented Mexican immigrants, learned how to build underwater robots and compete against MIT in the process.

The viewings are free and open to community members, students and staff.

The local showing is Oct. 15, 3-5 p.m. in room A102 on the Maricopa campus, 17945 N. Regent Drive.


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Central Arizona College graduation. Submitted photo

Central Arizona College recognized the accomplishments of its graduates during a district commencement ceremony on Friday, May 11 at Casa Grande Union High School. Those earning degrees from five campuses, including Maricopa, were honored.

Maricopa Campus Graduates

Joshua Abbott, Communication Studies Certificate
Jasmine Almaraz, Associate of Arts
Mayra Angelica Bandin, Early Childhood Education – Preschool Certificate
Luis Francisco Beltran, Associate of Science
Brittany Blastic, Baking and Pastry, Culinary Arts I, and Culinary Arts II Certificates and Associate of Applied Science Culinary Arts
Steven Chacon, Jr., Associate of Arts
Veronica F. Coronado, Associate of Applied Science Early Childhood Education
Yesenia Dominguez, Associate of Arts*
Vanesa Dominguez Garcia, Associate of Arts*
Scott R. Gillum, Baking and Pastry, Culinary Arts I, and Culinary Arts II Certificates and Associate of Applied Science Culinary Arts
Michelle Gomez, Associate of Arts
Anthony Gonzalez, Associate of Applied Science Hotel/Restaurant Management
Logan Hampton, Associate of Applied Science Computer Programming*
Laura Hernandez, Associate of Arts
Rachel Hickey, Associate of Science Early Childhood Education*
Rebecca Johnson, Microcomputer Business Applications Specialist Certificate
Andrea Lucchesi, Associate of Arts Elementary Education
Ashley Erin Lynn, Associate of Arts*
Tiffany Ann Nolan, Baking and Pastry, Culinary Arts I, and Culinary Arts II Certificates and Associate of Applied Science Culinary Arts*
Cheryl Lea Pedro, Associate of Applied Science Nursing*
Andrea Jacqueline Perez, Associate of Business*
Shane Jesse Quinby, Associate of Applied Science Computer Programming*
Marta Quiñones, Early Childhood Education Certificate
Mercedes C. Rivera, Business Certificate
T Kane Reid, Associate of Arts
Nicole Kendall Remmler, Associate of Applied Science Culinary Arts*
Peggy A. Rider, Associate of Business*
Ashley Brooke Riecken, Associate of Arts*
Audra Saenz, Early Childhood Education Certificate
Andrelle Saintphard, Associate of Arts
Samantha A. Shoaf, Clinical Laboratory Assistant Certificate
Amy Marie Tschida, Business Certificate and Associate of Applied Science Accounting*
Bojana Uzelac, Associate of Applied Science Early Childhood Education*
Cory J. Ward, Accounting Certificate

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From left: Holly Langan, Sofya Pangburn, CAC President Jackie Elliott, Matthew Fode, Jessica Cadena and Berenice Pelayo. Submitted photo

By Angela Askey
Executive Director Public Relations and Marketing

Five of Central Arizona College’s outstanding students have been selected to the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society All-Arizona Academic Team.

All-Arizona students demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual rigor combined with leadership and service that extends beyond the classroom to benefit society. Phi Theta Kappa, the American Association of Community Colleges, Arizona Community Colleges, the Arizona Board of Regents and the Follett Higher Education Group help these students reach their educational goals by awarding scholarships and issuing tuition waivers to any of Arizona’s three state universities: Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University or the University of Arizona.

Holly Langan (San Tan Campus), Sofya Pangburn (Signal Peak Campus) and Berenice Pelayo (Superstition Mountain Campus) were awarded First Team honors and each received a $1,000 scholarship. Matthew Fode (Aravaipa Campus) was named a Second Team member, receiving a $750 scholarship. Jessica Cadena (Maricopa Campus) was chosen as a Third Team member and was granted a $500 scholarship.

The awards were announced at the All-Arizona Academic Team Recognition Ceremony held at the Hilton Phoenix/Mesa on March 1.

Holly Langan (San Tan Campus) – First Team
Langan plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Arizona State University and become a managerial accountant. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa and the Honors Program. She has assisted with various college and community events such as the San Tan Valley Campus Fall Festival, Welcome Week activities, and the AJHS NJROTC Car Show.

Sofya Pangburn (Signal Peak Campus) – First Team
As a student, Pangburn has been involved at CAC as a tutor, a contributor to the CAC Cactus Newspaper, and as Student Government Campus Activities Director. She plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in global/international studies with a minor in political science from Arizona State University. She will use her education to pursue a career in the United States government as a political Foreign Service officer in order to support the United States with diplomacy abroad. She is also considering furthering her education to the doctorate level in order to become a professor and continue to explore the world of academia.

Berenice Pelayo (Superstition Mountan Campus) – First Team
Pelayo plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science and global studies from Arizona State University and pursue a career within the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Service officer. While at CAC, Pelayo served as a Phi Theta Kappa regional officer, Student Government Association vice president, book club officer and DREAMers club officer. Pelayo was named the Pecha Kucha Speaking Competition winner and received a China Exchange Program scholarship and a Positive Paths Scholarship.

Matthew Fode (Aravaipa Campus) – Second Team
During his time at CAC, Fode has been involved with student government and Phi Theta Kappa. Additionally, he volunteers with the First Conservative Baptist Church of Mammoth and Mammoth Christian Youth Center Thrift Store. He was named outstanding Biological Sciences student, Outstanding Social Sciences student and is a Who’s Who Among Students recipient. Fode plans to earn his bachelor’s degree in physiology from the University of Arizona and become a doctor of chiropractic medicine.

Jessica Cadena (Maricopa Campus) – Third Team
Cadena plans to transfer to the University of Arizona to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Her goal is to become a labor and delivery nurse. She believes helping to bring new life into this world would be extraordinary. Cadena is a Phi Theta Kappa member and is on the college dean’s list. She is also active in young adult ministry outreach events in her community.

Photo by Michelle Chance

Local high school students toured the Central Arizona College Maricopa Campus Tuesday morning and shopped various collegiate booths. The event was part of CAC’s 2018 college fair and also featured live DJ music, a photo booth, games and cotton candy.

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Central Arizona College’s Handbell Choir, led by Diane Rubio, performed Christmas favorites at the Maricopa campus Sunday. Rubio and the ringers took questions from the audience about their skills and the bells. The ringers class meets Mondays at the Signal Peak campus from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and is open to CAC students and Pinal County residents.

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CAC President Jacquelyn Elliott, Ed.D., was at a welcome reception at the Maricopa Campus Thursday.

By Chris Swords Betts

Jacquelyn Elliott, newly appointed president of Central Arizona College, met with leaders and members of the community on Thursday at her welcome reception on Maricopa’s campus.

The reception was the first in a series as Elliott visits all of CAC’s campuses in order to establish relationships with local elected officials and governing board members in more intimate gatherings. The reception allowed for attendees to pose questions to the new president.

“She’s got a vision for the college,” said Evelyn Casuga, assistant to the president. “She’s listening and learning.”

Elliott said she’s finishing up a strategic plan, while continuing to get to know the community. She views strategic planning as a way to develop metrics that have useful meaning to drive efforts to add the most value and return on investment to the community.

Elliott said it’s important to go to the local businesses and industries and ask what they need. “There’s some community colleges that workforce training is their bread and butter,” she said. “We have that capacity to really grow and customize it.”

Maricopa Campus Dean Janice Pratt said Elliott is great at meeting with businesses and economic developers. “In that way, she’s head and shoulders above the other presidents,” Pratt said.

Mayor Christian Price said he wants people to see CAC as “a pole vault into something greater.”

The government, Elliott said, can help determine the mix of academic offerings needed on campus. “We need to have the whole program mirror the first two years of ASU,” Elliott said.

Elliott addressed the need to focus the efforts of the campus, likening the available options to a Cheesecake Factory menu — overwhelming. Elliott said her goal is to help each campus find its distinctiveness and focus on that.

“We need to develop a Chipotle menu,” she said.

Elliott said she was drawn to CAC because she wanted to work at a predominately Hispanic-serving organization, in order to give back. As a minority—she is half Native American—Elliott said she is a product of the Federal TRiO Upward Bound Program, which helps low-income, first-generation degree-seeking students obtain a college education.

“Everyone said Central Arizona College is the place for you, Jackie,” Elliott said. “You can really take them to the next level.”

Dan Miller of Maricopa is the newest member of the Central Arizona College Governing Board after his two District 4 predecessors resigned. He said he would like more Maricopans to be aware of the resources offered at the local campus. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

With a campus in Maricopa, Central Arizona College needed a Maricopa representative on its governing board, according to Dan Miller.

That was one of the reasons Miller, an engineer for the consulting firm Genesis Solutions, decided to put his name into contention for the vacant and contentious District 4 seat. The two previous holders of the seat resigned.

After a six-member committee reviewed applications and recommended him, Miller was appointed to the board by Pinal County Superintendent of Schools Jill Broussard. She said the committee was comprised of a CAC professor, a nonprofit executive, a local business person, an elementary school board member, a school district superintendent and a pastor.

Miller was sworn in May 11.

He has used his first month in office to get oriented and study the budget. He said he wants to look for ways to be more efficient over the next 40 years while “optimizing cost benefits.”

Workforce development is one of his priorities. Also the owner of a small business in Maricopa, Digital Dan Photography, and a member of the board of the United Way of Pinal County, Miller said he considers CAC to be one of the county’s major resources. The college has new buildings on several campuses and could be utilized more by the public, he said.

CAC can deliver two years of college for an associate’s degree or as a pathway to university, but Miller said its role in workforce development is just as important.

Dan Miller
Hometown: Clarksville, Indiana
Maricopan since: 2006
Education: Bachelor of Science degree in human resources; Master of Science degree in management
Military: 18 years in U.S. Navy, retired as chief E7
Family: Married, one son
Occupation: Principal reliability engineer at Genesis Solutions, owner of Digital Dan Photography

“The college represents our future,” Miller said. “I’ve talked to economic development people at the City, and a lot of times a business is interested in coming here and they’ll say, ‘Tell us about your workforce. Are they ready for us to hire?’ A lot of the time we have to say, ‘Not yet.’”

He would like to see more people aware of the resources available to those facing a career change or need certification in a certain field “or to retool to get ready of the next adventure.”

Miller was in the Navy for 18 years. During that time he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He has developed training materials for Fortune 500 firms and has specialized in asset management.

He said he feels he brings a skill set to the CAC board in both management and educational training that will be useful.

“Mr. Miller’s community involvement, willingness to serve, experiences, knowledge and professionalism were all taken into account when making the appointment,” Broussard said. “I have heard nothing but compliments of him from those in the community since the appointment.”

One of his early tasks may be smoothing some feathers.

Miller comes into a position that has been the source of a lot of political drama over the past year. After the CAC board voted to raise its tax rate, a group headed by Garland Shreves gathered enough signatures to force a recall election of long-time board member Rita Nader of Casa Grande. She resigned instead, and Broussard appointed Richard Cassalata of Arizona City.

Cassalata quickly crossed swords with Board Chair Gladys Christensen, faculty and staff. He resigned in early April, leaving the District 4 seat open again.

Miller noted the tax rate that ignited all the drama and wants to see where the college can do a better job in how it uses its funding.

“I want to look into system efficiencies and processes to see what we can do without sacrificing the experiences of the students and faculty,” Miller said.

His appointment applies until the end of the year. He intends to run for the position he now holds in the General Election in November.

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Maricopa High School announced an additional Central Arizona College dual enrollment class will be offered for 2016-17. The new class will be General Biology I. Four CAC dual enrollment classes were offered in 2015-16. These classes are taught by MHS faculty who qualify to teach college level classes. Students can take the course for high school credit only, or for high school and college credit.

Students who choose college credit must pay tuition fees and must pass the CAC placement test. The following five CAC courses will be offered in 2016-17:

Math 121 – Intermediate Algebra
Math 151 -College Algebra
Eng 101 – English Composition III
Eng 102 – English Composition IV
Bio 181 – General Biology I

For additional information, please contact Wade Watson, MUSD Director of Curriculum & Instruction at 520-568-5100 ext. 1013, or at wwatson@musd20.org

There is still time for Maricopa students to get registered for Central Arizona College’s First Step summer program and Early College program for fall. The First Step program provides an opportunity for Pinal County high school students who have completed their sophomore, junior, or senior years, to take up to 5 college credit hours, during
CAC’s summer sessions for free tuition and fees. The only cost a student would incur would be for books and transportation. For more details on the program, summer course offerings, and the steps to enroll in the program, please visit us atwww.centralaz.edu/firststep.

The Early College program provides an opportunity for Pinal County high school students who are in their junior or senior years, to take up to five college credit hours, during CAC’s fall and spring sessions for free tuition and fees.

The only cost a student would incur would be for books and transportation. For more details on the program, fall course offerings, and the steps to enroll in the program, please visit us at www.centralaz.edu/earlycollege.

CAC is also offering recent high school graduates, beginning with the class of 2014, and GED recipients an opportunity to experience life as a college student this summer. Summer Bridge will take place Aug. 14-18 at the CAC Signal Peak Campus. Summer Bridge is a free five-day extended orientation to college. During Summer Bridge, students learn valuable skills in time-management, health and wellness, financial management and money matters, decision making, and many other topics crucial to success in college. Students live on-campus in CAC’s residential halls, and are provided meals and all learning materials throughout the program. The TRIO Summer Bridge program is the only all-inclusive residential college orientation program held in Arizona.

Among the benefits for students who attend Summer Bridge is the Peer Mentor program. Students are assigned a peer mentor and are encouraged to meet with their mentor as often as necessary throughout the fall semester while they adjust to college life. Students interested in Summer Bridge should log on to  www.centralaz.edu/summerbridge to download a fillable application. Certain eligibility requirements are
based on federal guidelines.

CAC President Jacquelyn Elliott, Ed.D., was at a welcome reception at the Maricopa Campus Thursday.

The governing board of Central Arizona College voted to offer Jacquelyn Elliott the job of college president during a special meeting Tuesday.

The board held two executive sessions on the matter.

Elliott was the only finalist for the post. Doris Helmich is retiring June 30 after serving as the CAC president four years.

During its first closed session Tuesday, the board reviewed the public survey input received from the public forums throughout the county April 25-27. A vote was made to enter into contract negotiation with Elliott. During a second executive session, the board extended an employment offer and upon returning to the general meeting named Elliott as the next CAC president/CEO.

Elliott has more than 27 years of experience working in higher education, specifically in senior level administrative and leadership positions at the community college level. She has served as president of North Arkansas College (Northark) since 2011.

During her time at Northark the College’s reserves increased from $11 million to $16 million and Annual Foundation Contributions grew. Northark was named a “Great College to Work For” by the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2013.

Elliott is a Board of Trustees member for the Higher Learning Commission, co-chair of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education’s Master Plan Development Committee and member of the Governor’s Task Force for Redesign of Arkansas Higher Education Funding.

Jacquelyn Elliott may be selected as the new president of Central Arizona College during a board meeting Tuesday. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Jacquelyn Elliott is the only finalist for the job of new president of Central Arizona College. She took questions from an audience of about a dozen people on the Maricopa campus last week. Tuesday, the board of governors will discuss offering her the job during a special meeting.

The process of hiring a president began in October. That was after Doris Helmich announced her retirement in a contentious year that saw the board raise its tax rate and a board member resign before facing a recall election.

“CAC is a community college. We are so different than a four-year institution or a university because we serve everybody,” Elliott said. “And that’s a lot of pressure.”

She said community colleges as a whole have gotten away from their original purpose and started establishing themselves as “mini-universities.”

“We have forgotten why we were started in 1961 on the GI Bill,” she said. “And that is accessibility for everyone.”

She said community colleges need to return to the focus of community education and workforce training.

“There’s a difference between being everything to everybody versus being what you are supposed to be,” she said.

Elliott has been president of North Arkansas College in Harrison since 2011 and retains a soft, south-Midwest accent. She was previously vice president of student affairs at Northern Missouri State University in Maryville. She has also taught at colleges and universities in Kansas and Nebraska, starting in 1990.

Jacquelyn Elliott answers questions from Maricopans at a meeting April 27. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson
Jacquelyn Elliott answers questions from Maricopans at a meeting April 27. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

She said community colleges have different needs based on the populations they serve, and campuses within a college have different needs.

“I think there is a unique opportunity for each campus to distinguish itself to be a center for excellence for the needs of that community,” Elliott said.

Maricopa Unified School District Superintendent Steve Chestnut said he was impressed with Elliott after questioning her on the future of CAC’s relationship with Pinal County K-12 districts. Elliott said Chestnut was the only superintendent to attend one of her meet-and-greets.

In Arkansas, she said, the college had an agreement with the local high school to give enrollment applications to all graduating seniors. She said many students do not consider themselves college material and don’t even think about trying to enroll until it is in front of them.

She said she is also a fan of working with four-year institutions with “articulation agreements” in helping students earn a bachelor’s degree.

Her completion agenda is not only to get more students enrolled but to also move them through to a completed degree or certificate.

“We as a profession have not done a good job of that,” she said.

Jacquelyn Elliott is the finalist for the next president of Central Arizona College.

During a special Governing Board meeting on April 13, the Pinal County Community College District Board of Governors announced Jacquelyn “Jackie” Elliott, PhD, as the final candidate of the Central Arizona College presidential search.

The Board of Governors will host a series of forums at its campuses for a public reception and a chance for community members, staff and students to meet Elliott.

The Maricopa Campus at 17945 North Regent Drive is the venue of the final reception. That is scheduled for April 27 from 1:45 to 3 p.m. in Room A-101.

Elliott has more than 27 years of experience working in higher education, specifically administrative and leadership positions at the community college. For the past five years, she has served as president of North Arkansas College (Northark).

Dr. Elliott’s bio along with a taped version of the search committee interview may be viewed online at www.centralaz.edu/presidentsearch.

CAC’s previous president, Doris Helmich, announced her retirement in October in the middle of a political battle with a group of voters angry over the board’s decision to raise the tax rate.


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Want to be on the college board? Apply for an appointment by April 29 if you live in District 4.

District 4 needs help at Central Arizona College.

Can a Maricopan help?

After the resignation of Rita Nader, who faced recall in the wake of college tax hike, Richard Cassalata of Arizona City was appointed to her District 4 seat on the CAC Governing Board by Pinal County School Superintendent Jill Brussard in January.

Cassalata quickly became embroiled in controversy among college faculty, staff and other members of the board, particularly Board President Gladys Christensen. He resigned last week.

Now the District 4 vacancy is being advertised again. The term lasts only through December. The seat is on the ballot in the November General Election and also needs candidates.

Brenda Katterman, administrative clerk in the county superintendent’s office, said there have been inquiries about the vacancy but no applicants yet.

She said all applicants must live within the current boundaries of District 4, which includes Maricopa. (Nader did not live in District 4 but was last elected before the county redistricting.)

Applications for the appointment to the vacancy are due April 29 by 5 p.m. Applicants may not be employees of the college or members of another school board.

Applications are online at http://www.ecrsc.org/pinalesa/elections/board-member-vacancies.

The application can be completed online, but it must be printed out, signed and notarized, and the original must be received by the deadline.

Contact Brenda Katterman at 520-866-6565, bkatterman@pinalsco.org or Pinal County School Superintendent’s Office, P.O. Box 769, Florence AZ 85132.

Jany Deng spoke of his horrific childhood experience surviving a civil war in Sudan and trying to adapt to life in Arizona. He was a guest speaker at Central Arizona College-Maricopa. Photo by Adam Wolfe

Jany Deng, former “Lost Boy” from Sudan, came to Central Arizona College Wednesday afternoon to share his story of adversity and triumph, and to educate students on what a refugee goes through when waiting for relocation.

His presentation was part of a Lunch and Learn program on the Maricopa campus.

Deng was 7 years old when the Sudanese civil war forced him to flee his village and trek to Ethiopia. He joined approximately 500 other children on a journey to find refuge in the neighboring country. However, due to starvation, disease, militants and predators, only 20 of the 500 children he left with made it to Ethiopia.

“We left our cows and just started walking,” Deng said. “We didn’t know where we were walking. We had 4 year olds and 3 year olds to take care of. The 11 year olds became the leaders.”

After three months of surviving the elements, Deng made it to Ethiopia. His problems weren’t solved, though, as a civil war broke out in Ethiopia, and the “Lost Boys” were forced to seek refuge again.

The majority of the boys ended up in Kenya. From there, the United Nations got involved and tried to relocate as many of the boys as they could.

“I was one of the first ones to get to come to U.S. in 1995,” Deng said. “After all that, I was one of the lucky ones.”

The “Lost Boys” were scattered across the globe. Some went to Australia and Europe while others ended up in the United States.

Deng and his brother were sent to Phoenix. Deng was placed with a foster family while his brother, who was over 18, was placed in the workforce.

“My brother had a lot of issues,” Deng said. “We weren’t living in the same place, so things got hard for him real fast. The trauma stays with you. Whether it is a car accident or anything, trauma stays with you.”

Like many of the boys from Sudan, the trauma proved to be too much for Deng’s brother. An altercation with police led to his death.

Since this event, Deng has dedicated his life to helping Sudanese refugees through the trauma. His organization, Lost Boys Center for Leadership Development, assists refugees with assimilation into society and promotes the value of an education.

“We came into the United State with nothing from where we come from,” Deng said. “We have achieved 85 percent of us graduated from either community college level or university with a degree.”

Deng received a bachelor’s degree in business from Arizona State University and is working on his MBA. He has made one trip back to Sudan, but another civil war has prevented further trips.

To learn more about the Lost Boys Center for Leadership Development, visit http://www.lbcld.org.

Photo by Adam Wolfe
Photo by Adam Wolfe